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City of Gonzales and City's Police Chief slapped with federal lawsuit

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BATON ROUGE- A former police officer with the Gonzales City Police Department filed a federal lawsuit in Baton Rouge against the City of Gonzales and the City's Police Chief, Sherman Jackson.

Moses Black alleges he was retaliated against by Jackson when he blew the whistle on his colleagues. He claims he witnessed two officers severely beat an elderly man while he was in custody. After reporting the incident, Black said the focus shifted to him.

"You (Chief Jackson) disregard it and an officer with 20 years of experience and you disregard it instead of taking care of the situation," Black said. "The officers lying on the reports and supervisors doing it and covering up for the supervisors...this is what we have for Gonzales in the future."

He was suspended for 90 days without pay after he showed up late for a work detail. Black said the person he was performing the detail for okayed it. The federal lawsuit says the 90 day suspension was ultimately reversed and Black was given back pay calling the suspension unconstitutional. Black said he was fired after questioning the way a ticket was written last December.

Police Chief Sherman Jackson declined to do an on camera interview. However, in a written statement, he said, "I look forward to my day in court, as I vehemently deny the claims made by Mr. and Mrs. Black. The truth will prevail, and until that time I will continue to do my job as Chief of Police without allowing this unfounded lawsuit to detract me from my duties."

Mayor Barney Arceneaux also issued the following statement.

"After speaking with our counsel, we have been advised to say that we have no comment at this time, other than to say that we have great respect for the legal system, and have no doubt that the courts will do the right thing when all evidence is presented," Arceneaux said.

Black appealed his termination last December, but his attorney says he was never granted a hearing. Yesterday, a Judge ordered him to have an appeal hearing.

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